The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

May 14, 2012

Student journalist in Ohio wins award for investigative reporting

Posted by Michele McLellan


A student journalist with The News Outlet has won a top award for investigative reporting in Ohio.

The News Outlet is a two-time winner of the Knight Community Information Challenge. The project, based at Youngstown University, partners student journalists, who report important local stories, with established media organizations that publish them. It is also funded by the Raymond John Wean Foundation.

Christine Keeling won the Ohio Associated Press Best Investigative Reporting annual award on May 6.  Keeling won the award for her reporting on the troubled financial dealings of a local church that was holding a large tract of land needed for neighborhood revitalization.

The stories appeared in The Vindicator newspaper and news site. They included: “Influential church battles back taxes” and “Idora idleness frustrates residents.”

Tim Francisco, co-director of The News Outlet,  said "Christine's work is a great example of what we can accomplish in journalism through innovative partnerships and we're extremely proud that a student journalist has won this important award."

Francisco added that Keeling, like many News Outlet interns, is an atypical beginning journalist. Keeling is a single-parent and was a non-traditonal student, and Francisco said an important goal of the program is to provide meaningful experiences to help non-traditonal students get a leg up in journalism. Keeling has since graduated from Youngstown state and works as a professional journalist.

The News Outlet was a Community Information Challenge Winner in 2010 and again in 2011. In 2011, the project expanded with new university and media partners in several other Ohio cities.

By Michele McLellan, a Knight Community Information Circuit Rider

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